The Spirit Of Truth in the Wilderness of Formation
Why was the Spirit Given? This question has been rolling around in my head since before Pentecost. It is an incredible gift that the God of the Universe dwells within me. Jesus said that it was better for Him to go away so the Spirit could come, this statement baffles my mind. The Spirit living in me is better than me living with Jesus!?! I feel like I could spend the rest of my life pondering this mystery and still not grasp it. Over the next couple of weeks I want to explore some of the reasons the Spirit was given to us. This week I want to look at the Spirit as the guide into all truth, but specifically as the guide into wilderness truth.
The Spirit is given to lead us into all truth, but there is some truth that can only be grasped in the wilderness. In the gospels the Spirit descends upon Jesus then immediately drives Him into the wilderness. It is there He must face the three questions, they are the same that were faced by the Israelites years before and they are the same that we face now anytime we are embarking on the next leg of our journey.
The Three Questions
The questions Jesus had to face, that we all have to face
- will we trust God for our provision?
- - will we trust Him for our protection?
- - will we continue to worship in the midst of uncertainty?
These are personified in the text as encounters with the devil, but they are the same things that we must encounter to go from the Spirit’s calling and leading to walking in His power. Jesus was driven by the spirit resting upon him into the wilderness, but left the wilderness filled with the Holy Spirit’s Power. The gap between the call and the walking is the wilderness. The Spirit drives us into the wilderness to allow us to come face to face with the dark forces that would seek to control and subvert us down the road when our calling becomes our platform. If we have not dealt with our tendency for greed, power, and control in the wilderness we will inevitably deal with it from the platform.
It is an incredibly scary place to be when, after feeling the presence of the Spirit and the calling of God on our life, we are immediately thrust into a battle for control of our soul. But this battle must be fought here, it must be fought now, in the coldness and darkness and loneliness of the wilderness. This poison must be extracted here so it does not fester and pollute what God is building in us. Better to deal with it now in isolation, than later in a crowd.
The wilderness is where our crutches, our defaults, our preconceptions break and crumble underneath us, where what we have learned and read becomes what we live and speak. We enter the wilderness as a called one, we leave it as a sent one. We enter as one who has heard, ‘this is My beloved child in whom I am well pleased’ we leave as a child fully convinced of our belovedness. The wilderness may be painful, but it is Spirit directed and ultimately the only path to wholeness and oneness.